Can you Take Melatonin while Breastfeeding?

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Melatonin is a powerful sleep aid. Melatonin is produced naturally in the brain, by the pineal gland as a response to darkness. When the lights go out, we start to feel drowsy. Melatonin levels are highest just before bedtime and affect sleep cycles. Melatonin supplements are often used by persons who have jet-lag (traveling from one time zone to another) or by those who work during the night and sleep during the day. 

A new mother may be eager to get some much-needed sleep. Unfortunately, Melatonin might not be the best solution, there are many safer alternatives available. 


Reasons Why You Should Not Take This Drug:

  • The effects of taking Melatonin while breastfeeding are unknown, but we do know that this drug is found in breastmilk. Therefore, it could affect your baby’s sleep cycles as well. 
  • Melatonin could also decrease your milk supply. It has been proven to lower Prolactin levels. Prolactin is the primary hormone responsible for milk production
  • Melatonin may also have a detrimental effect on other hormone levels.
  • Healthcare professionals believe that if a child has too much Melatonin in their systems, it could be detrimental to growth and development.  
  • Taking Melatonin may cause you to sleep so deeply, that you do not hear your baby’s cry. During the first few weeks after birth, it is vital that you breastfeed on-demand to establish your milk supply. If you do not hear your baby crying, you might breastfeed less, and this will result in low milk supply. 
  • Melatonin cannot be taken when bed-sharing, which is unfortunate because bed-sharing is one way to sleep more extended stretches at night. 

Interesting fact:

The 2007 Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal nursing found that breastfeeding mothers sleep on-average 45 minutes more than their formula-feeding counterparts. 


Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers

  • Drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime. This helps to induce sleepiness due to high levels of L-tryptophan. Other foods high in Tryptophan are spirulina, soy nuts, cottage cheese, chicken liver, pumpkin seeds, turkey, chicken, tofu, watermelon seeds, almonds, peanuts, and yogurt. Garbanzo beans, however, are loaded with the best form of Tryptophan.
  • Many fantastic, safe herbal remedies are available to breastfeeding mothers, including the following to combat insomnia, Chamomile tea, and passionflower tea. 


Ways to Increase Natural Melatonin Levels

  • Try to keep artificial light to the minimum in the evenings. 
  • Blue light blocks Melatonin from being produced. Try to avoid LED light exposure from bulbs, computer screens, cell phones and televisions closer to bedtime. 
  • Being exposed to bright sunlight during the day increases the production of Melatonin at night. 
  • Eat Melatonin-rich foods such as cherries, goji berries, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, tomatoes, bananas, and oranges. 
  • Taking a warm bath in the evening will relax your body and help with Melatonin levels. As cortisol levels decrease, Melatonin levels increase. 
  • Reduce WIFi and EMF at night. Exposure to these at night may decrease Melatonin levels. Switch your Wifi off at night. Switch off all cell phones and computers at night.
  • Any relaxation will boost Melatonin. Therefore things like meditation or prayer will help.  
  • Watching something funny in the evenings before bedtime has been proven to improve natural Melatonin levels. The perfect suggestion for breastfeeding mothers would be one of Ali Wong’s (comedian) videos

Reference:

Is Melatonin safe to take while breastfeeding?


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